Feeds

Quantum computing IN OUR LIFETIME - IBM breakthrough

Big Blue boffins crack pesky unstable qubit puzzle

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

IBM boffins reckon their research has catapulted quantum computing forward a few decades, making it possible within our lifetime.

The scientists say that they've come up with a way to extend the amount of time that qubits retain their quantum state, thereby reducing errors in computations.

“In the past, people have said, maybe it’s 50 years away, it’s a dream, maybe it’ll happen sometime,” Mark Ketchen, manager of the physics of information group at IBM’s Watson Research Centre, told the New York Times. “I used to think it was 50. Now I’m thinking like it’s 15 or a little more. It’s within reach. It’s within our lifetime. It’s going to happen.”

In quantum computing, conventional binary bits are replaced by qubits, which can be 1, 0 or both. However, until now, qubits have been unstable: the pesky things tend to lose their quantum mechanical properties and go incoherent in a fraction of a second.

Big Blue has been experimenting with "three dimensional" superconducting qubits, first examined at Yale University, and has found a way to extend the quantum coherence of the qubits by up to 100 microseconds, two to four times greater than previous records.

It doesn't sound like much time, but the value just slides past the minimum threshold to allow effective error correction in the computations.

“The superconducting qubit research led by the IBM team has been progressing in a very focused way on the road to a reliable, scalable quantum computer," David DiVincenzo, professor at the Institute of Quantum Information at Aachen University and Forschungszentrum Juelich, said in a canned statement from IBM.

"The device performance that they have now reported brings them nearly to the tipping point; we can now see the building blocks that will be used to prove that error correction can be effective, and that reliable logical qubits can be realised."

The breakthrough means that scientists can now start looking at some of the other (many) problems with quantum computing, like how to scale up from individual qubits, how anyone could ever afford to build a quantum computer, how you would program it and how to get the answers out of it once it's done with its madly complicated computations.

IBM was presenting the results at a meeting of the American Physical Society in Boston today. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Bond villains lament as Wicked Lasers withdraw death ray
Want to arm that shark? Better get in there quick
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
The next big thing in medical science: POO TRANSPLANTS
Your brother's gonna die, kid, unless we can give him your, well ...
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
Simon's says quantum computing will work
Boffins blast algorithm with half a dozen qubits
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.